Think twice about sneaking alcohol in public- even with a cool new device

This rubberized coffee lid grips onto a standard beer can, then attaches to any coffee cup creating a sneaky way to drink alcohol.

This rubberized coffee lid grips onto a standard beer can, then attaches to any coffee cup creating a sneaky way to drink alcohol.  (Lolo Lids)

It’s officially tailgating season. Time to crack open a cold beer and head outside with friends before the big game.

But if you plan on imbibing in public, don’t assume your fan status will protect you from the law. Public consumption laws vary widely from state to state—even city to city.

If you’re throwing caution to the wind, there are dozens of sneaky devices on the market that allow you to hide drinks in everything from bras to binoculars. 

The latest booze-sneaking product to hit the market looks you're drinking from a coffee cup but acts as an insulated container to keep that beer cold while you sip.

The Lolo Lid is the invention of Jerry Mcarthur, a Vancouver native who came up with the idea after receiving a $250 fine for drinking in public.

From the outside, a Lolo Lid looks like a regular disposable plastic coffee cup lid-- but it’s actually a hard rubber top that snaps onto a beer can and fits over a regular coffee cup --suspending the beer to create an insulated effect that "works much better than a traditional beer koozie."

In August, Mcarthur started a Lolo Lid Kickstarter campaign to get his idea off the ground.  It ended Thursday and raised over $37,000 -- far surpassing his original goal. He told that lids will begin shipping out to backers around the world, including the U.S., starting this holiday season, and hopes to expand distribution into retail locations soon. 

But before heading out with your concealed booze, consider this: While, Lolo Lid and the bevy of similar products are definitely not illegal, using it some places could get you in trouble.

Public drinking is punishable by jail or fine in a majority of places in the U.S. Seventeen states ban it completely and 89 of the nation's 100 most populous cities prohibit it.

There are a few notable exceptions. New Orleans and Las Vegas permit alcohol consumption pretty much anywhere within the city limits.

But if you're not up on the nuances of the local laws, you can be caught off guard.

In Savannah, Georgia, for example, people can legally have one alcoholic drink in an open plastic container 16 ounces or less, but only within the Historic District located downtown. The rest of the city prohibits open alcohol containers.

And some health experts say sneaking booze doesn't just pose a legal risk.

“By design they [products that conceal alcohol] encourage secret drinking,” said Elissa Weitzman, assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Adolescent Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital, adding that someone underage may be more tempted to drink if they don’t think they’ll get caught.

Weitzman has been studying binge drinking and co-directed Harvard’s multi-year study surveying the drinking habits of nearly 50,000 students at 120 schools in 40 states.  Although she has seen no specific research about Lolo Lids, she said that generally speaking, devices that conceal alcohol could encourage underage drinking or driving under the influence-- or may impede emergency first responders looking for the source of alcohol.

“We  have a long history of attempting to control alcohol consumption in public venues, at tailgating and sports events, where binge drinking by young people in crowd situations is often dangerous, and this product seems designed to undermine those attempts,” Weitzman told

But Mcarthur says it's up to the consumer to use it legally.  He noted that his Lolo Lid will have a disclaimer on the packaging warning users about public drinking and added it works just as well with sodas and other non-alcoholic beverages. 

"At the end of the day it’s a novelty product and people can use it how they want to use it,” he says.